I rushed quickly with school supplies in the blazing heat to reach the elementary school. With a first glance numerous children stood around a flag pole in rows of grade level while a flag ceremony took place. As I gracefully continued to walk up to watch the flag ceremony, a comely little girl came up to me and presented a single flower and pinned it on my shirt. The appearance of the children's tattered clothing was impecunious and the school's condition was even worse. Afterwards my friend, another student member of the Wish for Kids Club, and I, nervously walked into the third grade doorway, then suddenly the mass of children in the classroom stood up and greeted us with, "Good morning visitors!"
Trying to inculcate as much knowledge of books and literacy as I could, I directed my attention to a young girl who had raised her hand.
"Could we read to you?" she asked, and at that moment I felt their trust in me. For someone who hasn't been a teacher before, I had lots of mixed emotions of excitement for this venture. First, sorrow for children who have meager opportunities, then joy for the openness and respect they afforded us. For once, I realized how much responsibility a teacher holds. It is as if I held their learning by my hands.
The next afternoon, the club members and I returned back to the school to work on the newly built library, which our school community has made a reality with their contribution of books and monetary donations. Surprisingly, there were children at the school when it wasn't even in session. We decided to separate into two groups; one read to the children on the grass and the other worked on the library. As a group we stocked an estimated amount of 2000 books we collected from our school. A couple minutes later Mrs. Ruhter, our Wish for Kids sponsor, wondered how we can make this plain white room more colorful. With our mournful thoughts of not having paint to decorate the library's wall, I modestly grabbed the only coloring utensils we had present, a bucket of crayons and went to work.
I started tracing an outline of different book characters and catchy words phrases on the wall and later filled it in with color. After a period of storytelling out in the sun, the children gazed upon our work on the library walls. It was unmistakable the children had never witnessed something so colorful for it was evident with their facial expressions. We then invited the onlookers to help color and decorate their newly constructed library. The Wish for Kids final mark tidying the library was the traces of our handprints and names written beside it.
Spending my time in the Cebu, Philippines over my school's holiday weekend was the greatest experience in my life. I couldn't imagine what more I could do for these children other than just equally spending time outside of school getting to know them more and having fun. It's ironic how people would say these children live in poverty without new toys, stylish clothing or shoes, and even cell phones, because they were happy reveling in nature's gifts. I witnessed such a breath-taking sunset in a part of world that was absent from high rises and apartments we live in I come home thinking that wealth is not measured in material possessions. These impoverished children's hearts indeed have wealth imprinted in them. These children are so lucky to enjoy these God given treasures that we take advantage of when we barely have any time to take a breather and enjoy life ourselves by looking out at the horizon.